"Is" is for singular subject and for present tense, if the word "booked" is a past tense, why they use "is" instead of "was"? I agree that "leaving tonight" is a future but the action verb or word "booked" is a past tense.

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    It's just a fact as in "Harold has a flight ticket." It's not past, it's passive – Andrew Tobilko Feb 8 at 19:51
  • so if you use "was" - it's not a fact anymore? – Felix Feb 8 at 19:53
  • "fact" might not be the right word here, sorry... I meant the sentence is not a description of the past event (=booking) as in "He booked it yesterday", but rather a statement of the present, as in "He has a ticket" – Andrew Tobilko Feb 8 at 19:58
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    I'm not sure about passive. It suggests that "Someone books Harold on a flight leaving tonight" should be equivalent, which it isn't. I think booked is just an adjective. see my answer. – James K Feb 8 at 20:07
  • The word "booked" is already a past event, it means you have your ticket already, that's why I'm asking - why they use "is" instead of "was". and i did not say or mentioned the word "yesterday", don't change it into past tense. – Felix Feb 8 at 20:12

This is present tense. There is an adjective "booked", and "Harold is booked". His name is on the list of passengers for that flight.

The adjective "booked" is based off of the past (or passive) participle, and the usage of the adjective is somewhat idiomatic. You would not normally say "Harold is a booked man" (though it might not be actually wrong to say that)

The verb "to book" describes an action, so you could say

Someone booked Harold on the flight (yesterday)

Someone has booked Harold on the flight.

Harold was booked on the flight (by someone)

Now this last expression is interestingly ambiguous. If read as passive it means "Someone booked Harold on the flight" (and unless we know otherwise I'd assume the booking is still valid) But if "booked" is understood as an adjective, then the past tense would mean that the booking is no longer valid. In other words, this sentence can have two very different meanings depending on how it is parsed. You would have to hope that some other context would make it clear.

Since "Someone books Harold on the flight" would not be a reasonable equivalent, this strongly suggests that "booked" in the original is an adjective and not the passive voice of the verb.

  • No question about your own example and explanation, but it never answer my question on why they use "is" instead of "was" in = "HAROLD IS BOOKED ON A FLIGHT LEAVING TONIGHT." And what is wrong if the sentence is = "HAROLD WAS BOOKED ON A FLIGHT LEAVING TONIGHT."? – Felix Feb 8 at 20:50
  • I think I have answered that. They use "is" because they are talking about the present, and describing Harold's present situation. "Harold was booked" is interestingly ambiguous, It could be the passive voice or the past tense with an adjective. Often there is no difference in meaning, but in this case there is a difference. You would need context to be certain of the understanding of "Harold was booked" The time the flight leaves is irrelevant to the understanding – James K Feb 8 at 21:09
  • The booking part or the ticketing was done already (past tense) - and the flight leaving tonight (future) – Felix Feb 8 at 21:31
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    Whenever the booking was done, he is still booked. He remains booked. If I say Harold is seated, it doesn't matter when he sat down. He is still seated. – Ronald Sole Feb 8 at 23:23
  • Yes, and note that "Harold is seated" looks like the passive voice, but mechanically changing it back to "active"; :"Someone seats Harold" clearly changes the meaning: which is evidence that the word "seated" in that sentence is an adjective, not a participle forming the passive voice. – James K Feb 8 at 23:34

What part of speech is booked in the example? It is an adjective, not a verb. The word booked could be the simple past tense of to book, but here it is not.

Booked as a verb:

I booked a flight to Mexico City last night.


The chicken is cooked.

The flight is booked.

This seat is taken.


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